I will let you in on an insider secret. There are a few words that are frowned upon here at Revolution. One of them is ‘iconic’. This is mainly because the word tends to get overused in every other watch prose rendering it redundant. That however is not the case here. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is, in my opinion, an icon beyond measure and one of my all-time favorite horological creations. It’s a creation of alchemy — fusing the athletic with the elegant with magic so potent that it is difficult to turn away without becoming completely bewitched.

A Royal History

This new look Royal Oak with its Frosted Gold finish has been conceived in celebration of the first women’s Royal Oak designed some 40 years ago. It was created in collaboration with Florentine jewellery designer, Carolina Bucci. With a significant family history in the jewllery business, Bucci’s work is most lauded for its simplicity and elegance. Retuning to Florence after her studies, she’s worked for the past 15 years alongside local goldsmiths perfecting traditional practices such as the Florentine technique.

This year, Audmars Piguet has chosen to honour the female designers who have contributed to the Royal Oak’s legacy: from Jacqueline Dimier, who reinterpreted Gerald Genta’s initial 1972 Royal Oak to create the 29mm Royal Oak ref. 8638 and then imagined the first ever Royal Oak for women in 1976, to Carolina Bucci today. Dimier, however, remains one of the only named female watch designers of the modern era (Dimier joined Audemars Piguet in 1975 and was appointed in-house head of design shortly after). Her crowning achievement, without question, was that she successfully developed women’s designs that were relevant and therefore loved.

A New Spark

The Royal Oak Frosted Gold has a shimmering sparkle as a result of the surface treatment process rooted in an ancient gold hammering technique, also called the Florentine technique, where a diamond-tipped tool is hand applied to gold to gradually chip away at the surface, revealing a faceted texture that is diamond-like in its sparkle.

Carolina Bucci has reinterpreted this technique in her own jewellery design, while Audemars Piguet have used it as an application on the Royal Oak’s case and delicate bracelet. In the process, one challenge Audemars Piguet faced was applying this rough surface treatment technique uniformly across the case and bracelet of the watch without altering the clean lines of the Royal Oak.

It took months of trial and error between Bucci’s Florentine craftsmen and Audemars Piguet’s manufacture to alter the surface of the gold in such a way that they achieved the desired result. “We sent some links and parts of the case to Florence to test the possibility at the end of 2014,” says Bennahmias. “They came back beautifully sparkly, but were rough to the touch. The second attempt felt right, but didn’t sparkle. The depth of the impact on the gold is so important, if you dig too deep it’s far too rough. Getting the balance between the texture and the desired visual effect right is what has resulted in this latest, beautiful incarnation of the legendary Royal Oak.”

Anniversary watches and limited editions are common place in the watch world — but I can assure you, this righteous celebration between Audemars Piguet and Carolina Bucci will be one we admire for many, many years to come.

 Royal Oak Frosted Gold 37mm

Reference: 15454OR.GG.1259OR.01

Movement: Selfwinding Calibre: 3120

Total diameter: 26.60mm

Total thickness: 4.26mm

Number of jewels: 40

Number of parts: 280

Minimal guaranteed 
power reserve: 60 hours.

Frequency of balance wheel: 3 Hz (=21,600 vibrations/hour).

Case: Hammered 18-carat pink gold case, glareproofed sapphire crystal and caseback, water-resistant to 50m.

Dial: Silver-toned dial with “Grande Tapisserie” pattern, pink gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating.

Bracelet: Hammered 18-carat pink gold bracelet with AP folding clasp.

Functions: Hours, minutes, centre seconds and date.

Royal Oak Frosted Gold 33mm

Reference:  67653BC.GG.1263BC.01

Movement: Quartz
Calibre 2713

Total diameter: 18.39mm

Total thickness (without battery): 2.2mm

Number of jewels: 7

Frequency of the quartz: 32,768 Hz

Case: Hammered 18-carat white gold case, glareproofed sapphire crystal, water- resistant to 50m.

Dial: Rhodium-toned dial with “Grande Tapisserie” pattern, white gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating.

Bracelet: Hammered 18-carat white gold bracelet with AP folding clasp.

Functions: Hours, minutes and date

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